Wednesday evening millions of Americans gathered to watch the second Republican Presidential Debate – but did the debate change the minds of voters or address the issues they care about the most?  Alpha news attended the debate watch party in New Hope hosted by the 5th congressional district republicans.  We asked several attendees how they felt about the candidates both before, and after the debate.  When asked if they had a favorite contender the responses were mixed.

Kayla Fossen took a cautious approach, stating, “I don’t.  I haven’t had a chance to do the research in to each of the candidates and I don’t like making a decision until I have an educated decision to make”

Local attendee Chris stated support for Ted Cruz, explaining, “Ted Cruz is my favorite because Ted seems to be very trustworthy, honest, you know – bold, strong, and to me he just screams our next president.”

If attendees weren’t certain about who was their favorite, they definitely were certain about who their least favorite was, with a majority picking Donald Trump.

Throughout the debate a number of moments drew reactions from the crowd.  Julia Erynn live tweeted the event and her crowd reactions can be seen here.

After the debate wrapped up, we followed up with the same debate watchers to get their first reactions.

Fossen told us, “It’s one of those things that the way the debate was structured, the questions that were asked, and the responses that were given, it went around so much that no one really made a point”

Attendee Jim Taylor said a few topics he’d like to see them address better next debate, stating, “I’d like to see more focus on our monetary policy and on the federal reserve spending”

Micah Olson explained, “I think they’ve hit all the right issues, I’d like to hear more about ‘what do you actually want to do about it?’”

Did the debate change any of their previously held opinions on the candidates?  According to David Tibbals, not so much.  He said,  “You know I’m not quite sure that it’s changed much.  To be honest with you I’ve been kind of disappointed with sort of how it’s been just a little more personal attacking tonight – I don’t know that we’ve necessarily learned a whole lot more on really anybody.”

Taylor said, “I was surprised and impressed with some of Carly’s and Carson’s and Christie’s responses – they weren’t as dumb as I thought they were.”

Olson stated, “I mean I’m a big Rubio supporter, so I think one of the big kind of switches that I’ve made is kind of looking more at Fiorina, I think she’s really done a good job and has shown she has a good grasp of the issues.”

Fossen explained, “The one candidate that did stand out to me was Marco Rubio and not necessarily because I agree with him but because he was one of the few that had a policy that he was willing to talk about on multiple issues, not just one.”

The event organizers offered an unscientific, yet creative fundraising idea in a “green” straw poll where attendees could place money in to a jar representing their favorite candidate.  The top three winners were Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Carly Fiorina.  In our own Facebook poll the debate winners were Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio.

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